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Discussion Starter #1
I’m new to this sport. My first kayaking trip was very short. Just an easy float - couple of small swims. No problem – enjoyed it. Then somehow I developed this disabling fear of the river. My next trip was terrifying and I’ve walked away from several runs since then. Now I'm even
anxious in the pool.:( HOWEVER, I don’t want to give up. I just need to learn to overcome this fear. Some tell me to just face it – to force myself to go on runs even knowing I’m going to swim a lot.:confused: Others tell me I need to step back into my comfort zone – then progress at a slower pace to stay in that comfort zone.

Anyone have any first hand experience and tips?
 

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Well I would say just stay in the pool and work on your rolls. Close your eyes and have a friend flip you so you do not know when or what way you are rolling. Once you are under take a few seconds and just stay under befor you do anything. Then just roll back up. Each time work on staying upside down longer and longer. Then once the water goes down go to golden and play in the park there. do some rolls in the noise moving water and do the same thing work on getting use to being under water and stay there for longer times each time. Once you feel good move to a wave and play in it. once the wave kicks you out do a roll to show your self that you can do it and that you are in control. Then just roll in the wave. Well hope this helps, this way worked for me after i got my but kick the first time in a boat.
 

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My initial thoughts are to start over in a pool with an instructor. Paddle around in the pool with NO spray skirt. Once comfortable with that, perhaps go for the wet exit in the pool (still no spray skirt).

Remember at any point you can get out of the pool and practice this stuff on land. See how easy it is to get in and out of the boat in the water with no sprayskirt. Once comfortable there, try adding the spray skirt.

Just go slowly, with the goals of becoming comfortable in the boat, becoming comfortable getting out of the boat, and becoming comfortable with the water.
 

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Practice your roll

Practice your roll on flat water A LOT (go to soda lakes, small pond behind chatfield res., pool, etc.) . Do hundreds of rolls--seriously (not all in one day of course, go as often as you can though). Then work on moving water rolls on easy stretches

And playboat A LOT--getting flipped in the playpark and rolling up, over and over again is great experience for rolling up after unexpected flips.

then, try to find experienced boaters to take you on runs you want to try, and follow their lines

Being confident in your roll is everything--if you're not supremely confident you can roll up in the class of water you're running, you will constantly be fearful of flipping--and conversely, if you are confident, then you're more relaxed and less prone to flipping in the first place...I know this firsthand--I had issues with my roll a couple seasons back, and after doing the steps I outlined above, I'm back on it again--until, of course I swim again :D
 

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whups, just saw that you're in Florissant, so ignore my front range flat water refs--don't know any local flatwater there, but you prob. do I would guess...
 

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Keep it fun

Hey there!
I agree with the idea of stepping back slightly and just going back to a run that is pure fun, no matter how easy. If you enjoy that one do it a few more times and then maybe you can start to push forward again. The point of boating is to have fun and not necessarily to be a badass and fun the gnar (although that rocks, too). You won't stick with it unless you are having fun so just hang in the pool on and easy sections of river until you get your head back in the game. Don't just try to "suck it up" because you'll scare yourself more and probably won't end up sticking with it. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
thanks

Thanks everyone, for the suggestions. Especially thanks for those articles Jay!

I have a private lesson tomorrow with RMOC and I’m going to see if I can use that time to learn to roll.
 

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Pool sessions can be really stressful before you have a roll. Flipping yourself over constantly when you can't yet get back up isn't all that fun, even in a zero-risk environment. So while it's good to be in a pool, it's also good to get on the river-- just keep it to a class II where you know you can self rescue, and go with good people. The pool will get you your roll, and the river will remind you of why you're going in the first place.
 

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Forget the pool... even if you get your roll in the pool, you still most likely will not get it in the river, it can be very different. Get on the river and learn how to read water, then when you do swim you know where you are and where to go. Learning to swim in swift water is probably just as important as learning to roll. Always remember we are all in between swims. Practice rolls in an eddy or moving water with a friend there to do a T rescue so you dont swim, but like it or not you have to eventually get your head around and over the "fear" you are experiencing and I believe one of the best ways to do this is by understanding the river and how it works. Good luck and stick with it!!
 

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cool, I'm glad those articles were good--I want to read them but haven't had a chance and only glanced at 'em...

Having just run triple drop and the numbers at 2,700 from right below pine ck hole thru #6 tho, I have to add that some fear is a very big part of kayaking and for some one of the main reasons we do it! I still have an adreniline rush going hours later!

we were shitting putting on below pine ck hole this morning, but you laugh it off, or laugh about it actually--I guess it must that reasonable/unreasonable fear thing the articles talk about--the river is raging, pine ck hole is roaring and crashing not 50 ft away, you have to peel out into insane wave trains and super fast pushy water--any person should be scared out of their minds to intentionally jump into that--but, it was the most amazing thing I've ever done--this was my 1st time on #'s at high water--wow, what an intense thing this kayaking thing we do is!!

anyway, just wanted to mention that in case you're thinking you'll never ever be scared on or putting on the river, and that it's amazing and awesometo be scared and run the river that scared you...
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Well – as you can see the opinions on how to handle this matter vary vastly. I think I will stick with the conservative approach but push myself just a little out of my comfort zone each time. This weekend I took a class with RMOC – thought I’d get my roll there, but no such luck. The class was still beneficial ~ great pointers and corrections to bad habits I’ve already formed. Pricey though (private lesson). Worth the cost and I’ll consider doing it again once the water goes down. However, once the water does go down, I hope to go out on any easy floats the group in CO Springs runs (great group-PPWC). Class II trips don't come up very often with water this big and fun for the experienced boaters. So maybe this will give me the time I need to get more comfortable overall.
 

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Nervous System on High

Hi,
I agree with everyone's tips regarding skills. I want to add one more piece regarding how our nervous system deals with fear and how it translates to our bodies, then give a suggestion on how to regulate fears effects on your body.
Sympathetic Nervous System(SNS): as you know it kicks in hard when we get scared, feel threatened, etc. . Our bodies response is to go into the "flight or fight", vasoconstriction, get the heck out of there response.
Parasympathetic Nervous System(PNS): is the layed back counter balance to our SNS. It's the, "feed and breed", vasodilation, let's chill and smell the flowers, response.
When we experience something scary, our bodies remember. So, when we return to that event or even think about it, our body's SNS kicks back in. When we are in an overstimulated, high rev, SNS response, we loose our fine motor control, ie. rolling, basic kayak skills, etc...
Unless, we slow things down in our head and allow for the PNS to kick in, ahhhh, we begin to feel kinesthetically again and our propioception returns, ie. our ability to hang out and roll.
Homework: To access the PNS, think about an experience that brought you joy, smiles, good feelings. Stay with those thoughts until you feel a bodily response, relaxation, deeper breaths, etc. . Now, get in your boat in a safe place, pool, etc. and resource that relaxed place. Let me know if it helps.

Good Luck!
Kim
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Kim ~ awesome! I'll give that a try. I'm "thinking about attempting" Deckers this weekend - just the flat parts. If I do, I'll try this and let ya know. Otherwise, I'll be in the pool again on Tuesday.

Thanks so much! Awesome input I'm getting :) I'll get over this yet!!!
 

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It's not something to get over, it's something to get into!
water and gravity become addictive!
falling~water~falling~water~falling~water~falling~~~~~~~~~~~~
If there ever was such a thing as magic, it may be fond in water~falling!
don't fight it, go with it, it will change your world, if it happens for you?
good luck
 

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I live in Florissant as well. Deckers is a good run with good flat water. It will help you with practicing and nagivating your way around current. You can also practice your roll at Manitou Lake.

Good luck.
 

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I taught rolling/beginning kayaking for over 5 yrs and have seen this kind of problem a lot. I agree with those who've said to take a step back. You don't want to develop a panic response in your boat (ok, sounds like you've already got a bit of one, so the goal now is to get rid of it and not let it get ingrained!). It's damned near impossible to develop a reliable roll if you panic when upside down, and it's damned near impossible to stay rightside up if you are so anxious that you can't relax your hips and brace effectively. Spend LOTS of time in the pool, on a lake, and in very easy rivers that you stay calm on! Do a hundred wet exits,waiting longer and longer upside down before exiting, to convince yourself that you can always swim. Then only paddle where you feel 100% safe swimming. Even if it takes you a year or more to relax in your boat, it will be time very well spent! I've seen many beginners develop a fear response that they can't get over, and to my knowledge, they all eventually gave up the sport. With a slow, non-pressured approach, and some good instruction, you will pass this hurdle (and then be faced with another- the beauty of kayaking!)
Have fun in the process!!!
-Claire
 

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a roll is key. once you know you can roll back up if you flip over im sure you will feel alot better about being out on the river.
but dont get yourself in a bad situation. push your comfort level... but not too far or you could have a really bad experance and never want to paddle again :(
 

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I bought the book bomb proof roll and beyond and went to the river and thats all I needed, just put that effort in and you will get it. After you learn one roll move on to the next
 
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